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Thursday, 26 July, 2012 - 9:02 am

Confrontation is used for many things. Amongst them is to change the other's behavior; change the things that make you angry; clarify what has happened and why it is upsetting and get corrective action taken.

There are several types of confrontations.  
     Direct confrontation is a clear, precise statement of the facts to a person whom you believe needs direction and guidance. You either want quality action taken or you want this person to do something for you. For example; "John, please clean this place before I return'' or "Mary, the way to get my attention is by writing a memo to me, not by skipping work.''  
     Indirect confrontation is a statement of concern you make to a group of people with no specific person pinpointed. The purpose is to let people know your feelings in a general way. No one gets singled out. For example; "I want each of you to get behind your desire to improve our production'' or "I am upset with the way some of you are acting around here.'' Source livestrong.com

We see in this week’s Torah portion that Moshe confronts the Jews about past misdeeds but he does not confront them directly. He reprimands via hints and allusions. However, further on (in Deuteronomy, Chapter 9), Moses confronts the Jews directly.

What is better? Direct or Indirect confrontation?

The answer is depends for what.

In the case of Moses, he was trying to inspire the Soul of the people. When dealing with the more spiritual levels of the soul, they were “in tune” with what he was saying so an indirect confrontation sufficed. While later, in Deuteronomy, he is inspiring the soul as it is enclothed in the body, when it is less refined and less sensitive to its true self, and does not get the hints.

This is also true in our lives. When hinting will get the point across in a non-confrontational way – use it. When the recipient will not understand the problem otherwise, then be CLEAR in a nice way.

I know when I do not want to hear something, my defenses go up. I was thinking perhaps this is why Moses began by hinting and only got clearer and more direct later…

Have a good Shabbos and an easy fast.

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

P.S. for info on Tisha b'Av click here 

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